Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Righties on this side, Lefties on that

"Sorry, I don't mean to be a complete ass (just mostly an ass), but I think this is ridiculous...with the title of "expert" should come the realization that you're there to RACE your bike, not be guaranteed a prize for finishing.

Beginner and sport level racing is for growing the sport -- that is the FUN for them. Expert level racing is for competition and getting your ass kicked so that you get faster. In expert level competition the competition and racing hard should be what is FUN!! It should be drive to push yourself harder and further than you thought you could. Expert level racing should be about facing other fit racers on the start line and giving it everything you've got to win. Expert racing should not be about showing up with expectation that just by finishing you'll get a prize or get on the podium. That is not what expert is for."

The above is a bit from an email I wrote to the other MASS promoters regarding yet another call to split expert racers up into even more categories.

Perhaps I'm annoyed because in the past two days I've spent hours and hours trying to get bikereg set up for the stage race weekend with the 32 separate categories we run in the MASS races plus the 4 enduro categories plus the stage race weekend options for a total of 2.7 million different options.

I know that it feels really great to do well and get on the podium in a race. Its been a long time since I've been anywhere near the top of a race on my own and it is really frustrating to put in time and energy and not get what you hope out of it. But, where is the satisfaction for experienced competitors in finishing 5th out of 5, or even 1st out of 5?? You put in all that hard work and then to have a result gift wrapped for you before you even start isn't very satisfying really. It also doesn't fool anyone - your friends can read between the lines. Yea, it looks nice on a resume and it might give your team more points in the team rankings, but why work so hard for something that you're guaranteed to get just for showing up? You might as well eat donuts for every meal and just ride the races to finish --- it doesn't matter at all since there is no competition. Don't you want to know that even if you got your ass handed to you that you rode harder than you thought you could and did things you didn't think you could do? That doesn't happen if you're not pushed for it.

If you're not getting satisfaction from the effort you put forth and you need external reinforcement by finishing on what amounts to a basically false podium or receiving an award then don't do this racing thing. Ride your bike and enjoy the outdoors and stay fit and healthy, but don't race for prizes.

Race for you -- not for what you might be given, but rather for what you might learn about yourself.


Mike W. said...


Frank Brigandi said...

my sentiments exactly.
I remember when if there weren't enough "racers" to provide a competitive environment, classes were combined. If someone didn't like racing against stronger or more skilled cyclists, well then you had the choice not to race.
Racing is about competition not grasping an award for mediocrity...
But I do like my doughnuts.